Health insurance, paid time off and paid parental leave are some of the most well-known benefits that companies know employees want — and know to ask about in the employee hiring process.
But there are also life-changing perks that can be the difference between whether employees stay engaged or whether they are looking for a better opportunity. In the midst of a wave of employee layoffs this summer, there are some benefits that could help workers keep up by improving their lives.
Here are some overlooked, transformative benefits more companies should be offering — and asking employees about:
1. Extended Benefits for Caregivers
Nearly one in four workers have left the workforce to become full-time carers since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and these forced exits disproportionately affect women of color. In order to retain more employees and attract new employees, inclusive care benefits that help employees care for children and adult family members should be prioritized.
A 2021 report from Care.com that included interviews with 500 human resources executives sheds light on what these policies look like now. The report found that among companies that currently offer care benefits, the most common type is a subscription to an online platform that helps care for children, the elderly or pets. Other top choice companies right now are caregiver one-on-one counseling (53%), cash subsidies for care (52%), on-site child care (50%) and tutoring (40%).
The report shows what employers can offer, but one elder care offering that employees really want could be the option of working from home. For parents with unvaccinated young children and for those caring for families who cannot be vaccinated, going back to the office right now is still tough. A FlexJobs survey found that only 2% of parents want to go back to the office full time.
2. Paid leave and disability benefits for long term covid sufferers
Although mask requirements in the US have eased and more workplaces are calling workers back into offices, there are still many Americans who cannot go back to their way of working. One group that employers can help with are workers with “longstanding COVID” who survived acute early illness of COVID-19 but continue to have symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and brain fog that affect their ability to work. interfere in.
Applying for federal disability benefits administered by the Social Security Administration is already a notoriously long bureaucratic process. But employers can at least control how they manage their private short-term and long-term disability benefits, and make it easier for people with long-term COVID to receive them. For example, there are reports of insurers contracted by employers rejecting long COVID applicants. Employers can help by clarifying that job-protected leave and other disability benefits are covered and subsidized for long-term COVID workers.
3. Benefits of Family-Building
Benefits that help people pay for expensive treatments like in-vitro fertilization are in high demand. There are reports of people who have chosen to work exclusively at Starbucks for the IVF fertility benefits it offers to all eligible employees, including part-time baristas.
And that’s a big idea in the minds of employees right now. In a May study of 1,061 professionals, mostly in their 30s, nearly half said the pandemic had not halted their plans to pursue fertility treatments or become parents. Seventy percent said they would consider staying at their current job longer if it offered fertility benefits, and 88% said they would consider moving to a job that offered access to fertility benefits .
4. Student Loan Repayment Assistance
Nearly 45 million Americans have an estimated $1.7 trillion in student loans this year, and the crushing load of these loans could stifle borrowers’ futures and take a toll on their mental health. It’s not surprising, then, that a recent 2018 survey said college graduates that they seek student loan help as a job perk over the opportunity to work remotely or receive 401(k) employer contributions.
The pandemic has only exacerbated these concerns. More than a year after COVID-19 disrupted people’s lives, employees said financial concerns were the leading cause of their stress in 2021, above concerns about their jobs, health and relationships, 1,600 full-time According to a PWC survey of American adult workers, . The biggest concern most employees had about their long-term future was how to pay the bills without additional government relief programs. And they have reason to be concerned: A pandemic-era moratorium on federal student loans is set to end on September 30, although Democrats in Congress are pushing President Joe Biden to extend the pause until spring.
Meanwhile, an obvious way for companies to provide relief would be to roll out student loan repayment assistance programs of their own. Currently, this is an external advantage. Only 4% of companies actually offer student loan repayment assistance programs.
But that doesn’t mean it will never be on the table. With all the benefits, it helps to ask coworkers and coworkers what the industry standard is. You may find that you are not the only person on your team who wants this benefit, and you can request it as a group from your human resources department.